In case you were waiting for the hoopla surrounding self-publishing to die down, there’s some unfortunate news from Bowker: the number of ISBNs issued for self-published books just reached one million last year. That may not seem like a lot–surely there are more than one million self-published books, right?–but remember, that’s only the number of books whose ISBNs were issued by Bowker; a lot of authors who sell exclusively or predominantly on Amazon rely on the free company-generated ASIN number instead of purchasing one.
There was even more good news: according to a report by Publishers Weekly, the number of ISBN listed books that were produced through one of the major vanity presses has also declined sharply. That hopefully equates to better awareness and better tools for authors to rely on rather than having throwing their money at groups who sells odd, author-shaped dreams.
To correlate the numbers, the number of ISBN-assigned self-published ebooks has been dropping steadily–a fact that makes for really good soundbites from publishing industry conference stages–but the number of self-published books is still growing.
“The total 28% gain in self-published books last year was a marked improvement over the 8% increase in self-published titles released in 2016 compared to 2015,” Publishers Weekly‘s report continued. “Last year, Bowker’s director of identifier services Beat Barblan suggested that the 8% gain showed that the self-publishing market may be maturing, but the much higher increase in 2017 prompted Barblan to comment that the growth in self-publishing ‘shows no signs of slowing down.’”